Bees Love Boxes

Why do bees love boxes so much?

We’re removing bees from all types of boxes every day in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles. Among their favorite places to establish hives are cable boxes, electrical boxes, BBQs, owl boxes (“coup d’hoot”), and bees especially love getting into irrigation valve control boxes. Honey bees hang their honeycomb from the ceiling of a structure, and these locations support the weight of the hive as they fill up the honeycomb cells with larvae, nectar, pollen, and honey.

 

Bees Have Needs

Spacial and security needs, to be exact; they must have an interior space large enough to support at least 5,000-10,000 bees with honeycomb. They also  must feel like their hard work and home is safe and protected, which is why they are typically very prone to finding locations that have small entrances. This keeps natural predators out, but it also allows them to fight off intruders like wasps, wax moths, and most annoying to a beehive – ants. 80-90% of the time you see a mass of bee hanging from a tree limb, bush, or other fully exposed area it is because they are in the midst of finding and moving to one of these new enclosed spaces; these are simply called swarms. The bees aren’t interested in remaining exposed – they know it isn’t a safe environment to keep the brood and honey protected, once things get established.

What Can You Do?

Walk around your house and take notice to the box-like things that fit the description above; is it enclosed with a nice sized void inside? Does it have a small entrance for bees to get in? Will it be sturdy enough for bees to build their hive in? If the answer is yes, then look for gaps, cracks, or other areas that bees could potentially exploit as entrances that lead to voids. This will make the area of concern practically invisible to scout bees (bees that precede a migrating swarm – think of them as Real Estate Agents). This also applies to areas of your house that lead to open voids including eave vents that lead to attic spaces, holes in a wall that lead to space between interior and exterior walls, and chimneys.

 

Posted in Bee News

Africanized Bees, Gamma Rays, Sinkholes. Oh My!

With all of the things in the world that we could be worrying about, how high up is the Africanized bee problem?

The Past

Having worked through the Africanized bees scare I can tell you that there was a time when the honey bees in San Diego and Orange County were ferociously wild and aggressive (stories include Jeff and John closing off an AM/PM Station while being attacked by 100,000 crazed bees – then removing 200lbs of honey), but that was then…

So, how about now?

If Africanized bees were important to us in a positive way, right now we’d be asking the question, “Where did they go?!” That’s right – after all of the hype, scary stories, and news reports about attacks on humans and animals (they do still happen, although very rarely), my opinion is that what we understood to be categorized as Africanized “Killer Bees” are now encountered so infrequently, that I think it is safe to lower the Alert Level from “DEFCON 2” to “All Clear”. Some may say that almost all of the bees in Southern California now possess the Africanized genes, and I would have to agree with them, but as far as classifying them based on their behavior – I’d say that we are now dealing with a thinned-out hybridized strain that has lost A LOT of its aggression.

How friendly are these hybrid bees?

Here is my chance to convince you, so how do I plan on proving to you that the labeling of Africanized bees is now just an excuse for Pest Control companies to kill bees? Evidence: photographic and video. Follow our Instagram and Twitter feeds, like our Facebook page, or watch some entertaining videos on our YouTube Channel where you will see that we’ve become so comfortable with the bees in Southern California that we rarely wear beekeeper suits. Are we crazy? Perhaps, but the bees in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County are docile enough that we are confident in approaching and working with honey bee hives of unknown origin without the typical protection. Don’t believe me? See for yourself, and keep in mind there are still groups and individuals that are actually working towards enacting the statutory KILLING of all beehives of unknown origin (ask yourself; what’s their motivation?). Let’s spread the news that our honey bees – professionally kept or otherwise – are a vital and precious resource to our agriculture and our own welfare, and that the extermination of bee hives is egregious and shouldn’t be allowable.

Queen caged and surrounded by her babies.

“Africanized” bees surrounding their their caged queen, about to enter a new hive box in Pauma Valley.

 

Bee pants, a trend with a lot of buzz.

A swarm of wild bees attaches to Jeff’s pant leg after he tagged and caged a queen bee.

 

Surf bees

I’ll agree with you that this is dangerous, but not because the bees are Africanized. One of our field reps, precariously positioned removing a feral swarm in Encinitas.

Posted in Bee News